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Harris, Josephine M.. Josephine M. Harris research papers and photographs, circa 1950s-1970s: Finding Aid

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Harvard Library, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MS.BZ.007
Repository: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Josephine M. Harris research papers and photographs
Date(s): circa 1950s-1970s
Quantity: 6 boxes
Language of materials: English

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives first received materials in this collection in 1995. Additional materials related to Harris were found in ICFA's backlog and donor files and added to the collection in December 2012.

Archival history:

The archive came to Dumbarton Oaks in 1966 and 1993.

Processing Information:

This collection was incompletely processed by former ICFA staff members. Inventory/finding aid was revised by Rona Razon, Archives Specialist, in October 2010 and December 2012, and by Alison T. Miner, Metadata Intern, in September 2012.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to the collection is unrestricted. It is available for research purposes. Appointment is required for access because researcher space is limited: http://www.doaks.org/icfa-appointment-request-form. For research queries, contact the staff of Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (icfa@doaks.org).

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Slides and negatives have been removed from the document files and moved to ICFA Cold Storage for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use:

Photographs are for research and study purposes only.

Preferred Citation:

Josephine M. Harris Research Papers and Photographs, ca. 1950s-1970s, MS.BZ.007, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C.

Biographical Note

Harris earned a Ph.D. in Latin and Greek at Washington University, St. Louis in 1936. In 1937-1938, she became a fellow in Archaeology at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. The following year, as a special fellow at the excavations in ancient Corinth, she published coin finds. Harris was a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Research Library and Collection from 1942-1945. Under the direction of Wilhelm R. W. Koehler, Senior Fellow in charge of Research, Harris began to catalog the architectural sculpture from Oxyrhynchos, Egypt on the basis of published photographs for the Research Archive. In 1953-1954, Harris received a Faculty Fellowship from the Ford Foundation and the Margaret M. Justin Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. For that year, she was granted sabbatical leave from her position as Chair of the Fine Arts Department at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA in order to study Coptic sculpture in Egypt. Harris photographed and studied the Oxyrhynchos fragments from Evaristo Breccia's 1927-1931 excavations in the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1959, Harris received additional grant funding from the American Philosophical Society to continue the project. On subsequent trips to Egypt in 1963 and the 1970s, she continued to photograph fragments from Oxyrhynchos that had not previously been published [Evaristo Breccia, Le Musée Gréco-Romain, 1925-1931 (Bergamo, 1932); Evaristo Breccia, Le Musée Gréco-Romain, 1931-1932 (Bergamo, 1933)].


This collection consists of two (2) series: Correspondence and Slides and Photographs and Negatives.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of Josephine M. Harris' documentation of Coptic architectural sculpture from the site of Oxyrhynchos, Egypt (3rd-6th century CE). It includes research notes, drafts, and correspondence, but the majority of the collection consists of photographs and negatives of Coptic sculpture in Egypt, especially sculptural fragments from the site of Oxyrhynchos. These fragments were excavated by Evaristo Breccia in 1927-1931 and became part of the collection of the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt. The archive provides photographic documentation for approximately 500 sculptural fragments from Oxyrhynchos. There is an unpublished manuscript by Harris, "Coptic Architectural Sculpture from Oxyrhynchos," which includes a catalog of sculpture, footnotes, and several appendices. ICFA staff have added two addenda, consisting of copy negatives and photographs related to Harris found in ICFA's backlog and donor files (see files 44 and 45).

Other Finding Aids

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Coptic sculpture
Architectural decoration and ornament
Byzantine sculpture
Late Antique
Art museum
Photographic technique
Black and white slide
Black and white negative
Photographic print
Contact sheet
Contact print
Field notes
El Bahnasa
Al Ashmunin
Harris, Josephine M., 1911-1992
Breccia, Evaristo, 1876-1967